|Friday, January 14, 2000,
building fast N-bombers
Russia captures key heights
India to build wider
US move to split Microsoft
Malaysian Oppn leaders held
Sharif aide planned
Islamic front turns down amnesty
Wahid sacks army spokesman
J&K group asks Pak to arrest
UK denies split on arming Pak
USA building fast N-bombers
WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (PTI) The USA is developing new supersonic stealth bombers with speeds up to 3,500 to 7,000 miles per hour to meet its strategic need for deterrence against countries such as India, North Korea and Pakistan till 2030 AD and beyond, a US-based science magazine has said.
"The follow-on to the B1B (bomber) is foreseen as primarily a nuclear weapons carrier, giving Pentagon a fast but recallable nuclear delivery system that will serve as a strong deterrent to many nations, such as India, North Korea and Pakistan," the "Popular Science" magazine said in a recent article.
The Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound, roughly 3,500 miles per hour) supersonic bomber, being developed by Northrop Grumman company, could strike targets worldwide, including India and Pakistan, within hours, the magazine said.
Also being developed are unpiloted bombers which can be directed at targets from a "mother" plane a safe distance away, combining military effectiveness and risk avoidance for pilots, it said.
US officials said naming India along with North Korea as a potential target may surprise Indians, but the Pentagon is required to take into account not only current and future relations but also the potential in a worst case scenario.
The magazine said NASA was already working on the ambitious project.
"The technologies being studied as part of NASAs Hyper-X programme could bring a hypersonic bomber several steps closer to reality. Engineers have already tested the programmes scramjet engine in a wind tunnel and flight testing of three vehicles is scheduled to begin in May.
"The first of these experimental vehicles, the X-43A, has already been delivered to NASAs Dryden Flight Research Centre in Edwards, California. The 12-feet long, unpiloted X-43A will ride along a Pegasus booster rocket, which in turn will be air-launched by Drydens B-52 airplane. After separating from the rocket, the X-43A will conduct aerodynamic and propulsion experiments at a speed of Mach 7 (approximately 4,900 miles per hour) and then crash into the Pacific."
Two more flight tests will be conducted later at Mach 7 and Mach 10 (7,000 miles per hour), the magazine said.
The X-43A will be the
first vehicle with a non-rocket engine to reach
hypersonic speeds above Mach 5. Today, the worlds
fastest air-breathing aircraft is NASAs SR-71,
which can reach speeds slightly above Mach 3 (2,100 miles
per hour), the article added.
Russia captures key heights
SHALI (Russia), Jan 13 (AP) Russia said its soldiers pushed further into the Chechen mountains where rebels have key bases and asserted it was back in control of towns where rebels launched surprise attacks.
Russia also said its forces blocked an attempt by rebels to break out of Grozny, the Chechen capital. Helicopter gunships attacked rebel positions in Grozny yesterday.
After facing little resistance in its drive to take control of Chechnya, Russia was forced on the defensive in recent days by strong rebel counter-attacks, but claimed to have regained its momentum yesterday.
Russian paratroopers took control of a mountain road leading to the rebel-held village of Sharoi and captured the strategic heights nearby, blocking the rebels from getting reinforcements and supplies, the military said.
Russia also sent reinforcements to troops surrounding Vedeno, a large town deep in the mountains, and warplanes bombed rebel bases in the Vedeno area and the Argun gorge northwest of Sharoi, the news agency Itar-Tass reported.
But resurgent rebels mounted weekend attacks on Gudermes, Shali and Argun, which Russia claimed to have taken under control in December.
Russia claimed to regained control of all three yesterday and Mr Nikolai Koshman, the Kremlins emissary for Chechnya, visited Shali yesterday to tell residents that water and power supply would soon be restored.
NTV television showed some local residents complaining to Koshman that Russian forces had killed civilians along with rebels.
Refugees from Grozny also accused Russian forces of indiscriminately killing civilians along with rebels. The Russians burn buildings where civilians have cowered in basements for weeks, said refugee Fadiman Butiyeva.
Rebels have mounted fierce resistance as Russian patrols try to take Grozny neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood. The rebels are well-entrenched in the city centre and have shooting positions throughout the ruined city.
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov issued a call for talks with Russia, but the Kremlin has repeatedly said it will not consider talks until rebels are wiped out.
MOSCOW: A senior official has said the Kremlins influential Security Council will soon discuss information policy for the first time but vowed it will not mean a return to the Soviet-style censorship.
Council Secretary Sergei Ivanov also told a news conference yesterday that the body might approve a new military doctrine by February, now that a broader national security strategy had been adopted.
Mr Ivanov said fighting in the Russias rebel Chechnya region, NATOs military campaign against Yugoslavia last year and dirty tricks during Decembers Russian parliamentary elections showed it was time to take a close look at information.
"We plan to study for the first time in the Security Council the question of information security," he said. "We believe it is high time."
US move to split Microsoft
WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (PTI) The US Justice Department has proposed splitting Microsoft into three separate companies to end its long-running fight with the Microsoft giant.
Microsoft spokesman Mark Murrey branded any proposal to split the company as "an extreme radical proposal that is not justified by anything in this case and does not reflect the reality of competition in our industry."
It is ironic, he added, "that anyone would be talking about breaking up Microsoft a day after America Online and Time Warner announced the largest merger in history, one aimed at competing directly with Microsoft."
It is not clear how the Justice Department proposes a three-way split. It could be a split of every division, or formation of separate companies by function.
Proposing a break-up could subject the Justice Department to a new round of political criticism from congressional Republicans, many of whom have lined up behind Microsoft, the Washington Post said.
Another challenge for the government in a break-up would be division of employees and employer loyalty. Microsofts most valuable assets are not factories, oil refineries or railway lines. The software giants "property" is intellectual, and, as such, its chief resource is people.
The Justice Department
is acting on the ruling by US District Judge T.P. Jackson
in November that Microsoft has used its monopoly power in
the market for personal computer operating systems to
bully rivals, squelch competition and harm consumers.
Malaysian Oppn leaders held
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 (AP) The Malaysian Government today ignored international criticism over its latest crackdown on Opposition leaders, charging the first one in court with sedition and indicating more arrests were possible.
A senior Editor of the leading Opposition newspaper, Harrah, and a lawyer for ousted Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim were arrested today on charges of sedition. A vice president of the Opposition National Justice Party was arrested for allegedly provoking racial discord.
"If more people commit offences, there will be more arrests," Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahead Bedew told national news agency Brenda. "But it need not necessarily be all Opposition people. Whoever it is, if he commits a wrong, will have to be punished."
Sulkily Sluing, Editor of the newspaper of the pan-Malaysia Islamic Party, or PAS, appeared in court today to be charged with sedition for an article in Harrah on August 2, 1999, regarding the Anwar trial. The printer of the newspaper was also to be charged with sedition.
The article carried a quote by Chandler Muzaffar, deputy president of the National Justice Party, in which he alleged there was a conspiracy planned by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in which the police, the Attorney-Generals office, courts and local media would be used to destroy Anwar.
Sessions Court Judge Abdul Karim Abdul Jalil fixed bail at 5,000 ringgit ($ 1,315) and set Zulkiflis trial for May 22.
"I am ready to defend myself and I am ready to face the consequences," Zulkifli told the AP after his court hearing. He faces three years in prison and a fine of 5,000 ringgit ($ 1,315) if convicted.
Yesterday, Karpal Singh, who is Anwars lawyer and a longtime critic of the Mahathir administration, was arrested on charges of sedition for alleging in court last year that someone had tried to poison his client.
Georges plea on CTBT
TOKYO, Jan 13 (PTI) India today said it hoped to build the "widest possible consensus" in the "shortest possible time-frame" on the issue of signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and indicated that the subject would acquire "greater momentum" during the budget session of Parliament.
"A national debate is underway in India on the CTBT and we hope to build the widest possible consensus in the shortest possible time-frame," Mr Fernandes told Japans premier think-tank National Institute of Defence Studies on the concluding day of his five-day visit to this country.
At the same time, he ruled out any compromise on Indias basic objective to maintain a minimum credible nuclear deterrent.
Outlining Indias security concerns and perspectives, he asserted New Delhis record on export control and non-proliferation was an "exemplary one, far superior to that of some Non-ProliferationTreaty (NPT) member states".
The minister told reporters later that "a positive international environment has to be created for India to accede to the CTBT. This issue will acquire greater momentum during the coming budget session of Parliament."
He, however, maintained that "we perceive our new nuclear status as adding to our responsibilities, and we will ensure that we live up to the expectations of the international community."
Mr Fernandes, the first Indian Defence Minister to pay an official visit to Japan, made it clear that New Delhis legitimate security requirements would only be defined by it.
Japan had imposed sanctions against India following the latters nuclear tests in 1998 and has been demanding that New Delhi must move towards signing the CTBT for Tokyo to lift the punitive measures.
Rounding off his "highly successful" visit, Mr Fernandes told reporters that India and Japan, as members of the ASEAN regional forum, "will assume greater responsibility to ensure peace and security."
Mr Fernandes achieved a significant thaw in the icy post-Pokhran Indo-Japanese ties with Tokyo agreeing to initiate a dialogue with New Delhi on vital security and defence issues.
Sharif aide planned jailbreak
Islamabad, Jan 13 (PTI) A close aide of deposed Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif and co-accused in the plane hijacking case Senator Saif-ur-Rahman had planned to breakout of a Sindh jail where he is incarcerated, army authorities have said.
Sindh Advocate General Raja Qureshi told Anti-terrorism Judge Shabbir Ahmed at a hearing yesterday in Karachi that the matter came to light when the prisons matron recovered a sketch showing the jails layout from Rehmans daughter Saira.
A mobile phone being smuggled into the prison was also intercepted which showed that the accused was planning to break out of the prison, official app news agency quoted Qureshi as saying.
Sharif, Shabaz, Rahman and four others are being tried for treason, hijacking, murder and waging a war against the country for refusing to allow a PIA flight from Colombo carrying Army Chief Gen. Musharraf to land at Karachi airport on October 12.
Rahman, the former accountability cell chief, however, denied the charges.
He told reporters that he had drawn the sketch to let his son know about the environs of the jail.
Elaborating on the alleged plot, Qureshi said some Id cards and letters were seized from Saira when Rahmans family was leaving after meeting him in jail on Id, January 9.
Chandrikas election challenged
COLOMBO, Jan 13 (UNI) The opposition United National Party (UNP) has challenged the election of Mrs Chandrika Kumaratunga as President in the supreme court urged it to declare it void.
The petition, filed by party general secretary Gamini Athukorale, said the presidential election held on December 21 was not free and fair and cited several incidents of intimidation, non-compliance of election laws and other circumstances, including ballot rigging, in this regard.
President Kumaratunga and acting election commissioner DMPB Dissanayake are respondents to the petition.
The petitioner had complained on grounds of general intimidation of UNP polling agents and supporters of the Peoples Alliance at several places on the polling day. The petition had also cited incidents of non-compliance of the provisions of the election law and also complained of other irregularities. According to one such complaint, about 700 ballot papers were found in the Anuruddha Balika Vidyalaya polling station, two weeks after the elections. These ballot papers had been handed over by the police to the court.
Another complaint was that aproximately 30,000 Samurdi Niyamakas, who were not entitled to be treated as postal voters, were provided the facility of exercising the postal vote. After the commencement of the postal poll, a requisition was made to the government printer to print 8,25,000 envelopes of different sizes for postal votes and a large number of ballot papers together with prescribed forms for voters declarations, the complaint said.
Further, majority of voters may have been prevented from electing the candidate whom they preferred, the petition stated.
Meanwhile, The Sri Lanka police have arrested a suspected LTTE human bomber, believed to be an accomplice of the woman suicide bomber who blew herself up near the Prime Ministers office here on January 5, killing 13 people.
The police believe Jothiswaran (28) accompanied the suicide bomber to the Prime Ministers office, state-run Daily News said. Jothiswaran, who fled to Singapore two months ago, had recently been deported back to Sri Lanka.
Though no suicide kit
has been recovered from Jothiswarans possession,
the police are on a look out for any kit that might be
hidden in the city, the daily said. Jothiswaran is the
second suspected suicide bomber to be arrested this week.
Islamic front turns down amnesty offer
ALGIERS, Jan 13 (AFP) The head of an Algerian Islamic extremist splinter group, the GSPC, is preparing to turn himself in responding to an amnesty offer, the state radio reported.
The offer had hitherto failed to induce the GSPC (Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat) and the larger terrorist organisation, the Islamic Armed Group (GIA), to renounce their campaign.
The amnesty deadline was till midnight tonight. The radio said Hassan Hattab, alias Abou Hamza, (32), would give himself up to the algerian authorities together with his chief lieutenant, Ahmed Djabri and 100 members of his team.
Hattab and the GIA leader Antar Zouabri had hitherto both rejected President Abdelaziz Bouteflikas peace overtures offering a full or partial amnesty to those who have not been implicated in blood crimes, rape or public bombings.
Hattab created the GSPC in September 1998, operating mainly around Kabylia in the east of the country and in part of Mitidja, a fertile agricultural plain around Algiers, which Hattab disputed with his rival, Zouabri.
President Bouteflika, who has staked his presidency on his bid to end the bloodshed which has claimed more than 100,000 lives since 1992, last year authored the six-month amnesty law with a January 13 expiry date and a warning that he would conduct a merciless crackdown on those who did not surrender.
The GIA has been blamed
for much of the slaughter of civilians in the conflict,
unleashed in January 1992 when the military prevented
certain electoral victory for the Islamic Salvation Front
(FIS). The GIA and the GSPC share the goal of installing
an Islamic state in Algeria.
Wahid sacks army spokesman
JAKARTA, Jan 13 (AP) Civilian President Abdurrahman Wahid fired the number one spokesman for the powerful armed forces today after the General challenged the constitutional right of the President to command the military.
Speaking to reporters at the Presidential Palace, Mr Wahid said Major-Gen Sudradjat would be replaced by Air Chief Marshal Graito Husodo.
Gen Sudradjat, regarded as a critic of Wahid, told Republika newspaper last week that Indonesias constitution "does not give the President the right to interfere in the internal affairs of the military."
The President did not say why he fired Gen Sudradjat but said only "we need to replace officers who are not suitable."
When Mrs Wahid was
appointed President less than three months ago, he had
called for reform within the military and has directly
rejected calls by certain Generals for tough military
action to be taken to quell separatist and religious
violence in Aceh and Maluku provinces.
J&K group asks Pak to arrest hijackers
LONDON, Jan 13 (PTI) A London-based Kashmiri group has asked Pakistan to arrest the hijackers of the Indian Airlines aircraft and try them if Islamabad wanted to convince the world that it was not involved in the hijacking.
The immediate arrest and trial of the five hijackers by Pakistan would go a long way in convincing the world that its intelligence agency ISI had nothing to do with the hijacking, M. Anwar Khan, Chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Peace Committee for Europe, said in a statement here.
to trace the hijackers would certainly give the
impression that authorities in Islamabad have not only
left the hijackers free but have also facilitated Maulana
Masood Azhar and two other militants, freed by India, in
planning a mass recruitment drive for a fresh
Jehad (holy war) against India in Kashmir, he
UK denies split on arming Pak
LONDON, Jan 13 (Reuters) British officials have denied that senior ministers were at loggerheads over arms sales to Pakistan following last Octobers military coup and said exports were continuing.
The Guardian newspaper said leaked Cabinet papers showed Defence Minister Geoff Hoon and Trade Minister Stephen Byers had pushed for 80 export applications to Pakistan to be processed so British firms did not lose out to European competitors.
mishap toll rises to 39
White man opens
fire on blacks
Plan to launch
gay friendly airline
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